The Sci Fi Center in downtown’s Commercial Center has been running its cult-movie nights for a while now, and this week comes up with a pretty ingenious double feature: The original silent vampire film Nosferatu, from 1922, will be paired with 2000’s meta-vampire film Shadow of the Vampire. F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu was the first movie to bring the classic story of Dracula to the big screen, even though it changed several details and character names because the filmmakers didn’t have the rights to the novel (this didn’t stop author Bram Stoker’s estate from suing them, and winning).
E. Elias Merhige’s Shadow of the Vampire reimagines the production of Nosferatu as a horror movie itself, positing that star Max Schreck (played by Willem Dafoe) was so believable as vampire Count Orlok because he was, in fact, a vampire. Back-to-back viewings should provide for an ideal opportunity to look for signs of actual vampirism in Schreck’s performance, and to see how well Dafoe captures the presence of the classic silent-movie actor, who is still best known for his monstrous visage.